As long as they don’t go completely extinct, Justin Verlander, and his shrinking population of peers, will remain one of the wonders of big league baseball.
Maybe our best hope for future Verlanders lies in his bank account. Through the 2017 season, Verlander had earned $198.5 million dollars in big league salary. If the market for the middling starter is ebbing, as this winter suggested, the one for the elite, all-but-impossible-to-find starter like Verlander, Chris Sale, Max Scherzer and Kershaw seems to be just fine.
Force is strong with her, too, even if she doesn’t know it yet. But in some ways, she’s always known. Strong and fearless. Has a little attitude, but teammates will grow to love her. Is more gritty warrior than rich princess.
Like his master, has lightning in his hands. Has great grasp of the Death Star playbook. Will cut your hand off if necessary. But comes into the league older and on the downside of his career. Not to be confused with Saruman or Dracula.
At last, revealed pretty good talent to the Jedi. Double-edge lightsaber is a game-changer. He’s the obvious future red face of a franchise. Teams should be wary that his career (and body) will be cut in half by injury.
Has a very particular set of skills, which he has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a nightmare.
While the NFL has decided that Pro Bowl-caliber running backs are worth about only $8 million or so in this market, it doesn’t necessarily follow that those backs should be worth that little. It’s at least theoretically possible that the NFL could be underestimating how much running backs are worth to an offense and systematically underpaying guys such as McCoy and Freeman. If that were true, Barkley would be more of a bargain than his status within the running back salary structure as a potential second overall pick suggests.
While Gettleman has said that the league’s devaluation of running backs is comical, the problem is that there isn’t much evidence suggesting that the NFL doesn’t value running backs well. The market correction for halfbacks over the past 15 years is borne out by their shorter career spans and the success that teams such as the Patriots have had without committing to a franchise-caliber running back on a long-term contract. Of the past 10 Super Bowl winners, only two — the Ravens with Ray Rice and the Seahawks with Marshawn Lynch — were built around backs on top-tier multiyear contracts. The Saints had former second overall pick Reggie Bush in a rotation at halfback, but most of these teams were built around players on rookie deals or backs with middle-class contracts.